Personnel Today: Creating a Talent Pipeline for Critical Employees

Sue Brooks, Managing Director of Cielo’s Talent Consultancy, penned an article this week for Personnel Today, the UK’s leading “free-access HR website,” reaching 200,000 unique visitors each month. In the article, Creating a Talent Pipeline for Critical Employees, Sue expresses the need for employers to find out the roles and personalities most critical to their business and be proactive in building a pipeline of qualified candidates.

Excerpts from the article:

It is a common misconception that the most important part of workforce planning is getting the pipeline for senior professionals right. But at Disney, the opposite is the case.

As outlined by Harvard Business Review, the business assessed which roles would cause each of its theme parks to grind to a halt should they be lost. The answer is perhaps surprising ... The talent critical to the company’s ongoing operation was its general support staff ... Without this team on the ground, customers would not be able to get around the parks, money would not be made and the remaining staff members would not be required.

As a result of this revelation, the business understandably ensured it had a pool of candidates ready to jump into these roles at any time.

Any talent management expert knows that it can be difficult to identify what skills are needed and when, making many workforce plans irrelevant, particularly in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. So, how can HR teams follow Disney’s lead and discover their critical talent?

To start with, there needs to be company-wide recognition of what critical talent really looks like … Ask team leaders and managers what positions would shut down the business if they disappeared ... Once these critical positions have been identified, determine where this talent is most likely to come from, both internally and externally.


Pipelining and pooling talent for an uncertain future is no purely scientific matter ... However, by focusing attention on positions that are most valuable to the business, HR teams can more effectively provide people solutions that will keep the organisation operating. 

For access to the full article and how to create “talent pipelines,” visit: